Ahmedabad: The Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority has proposed a new draft development plan for Gujarat’s former capital Ahmedabad that will transform it into a so-called compact city.
A compact city, or city of short distances, is an urban planning concept that promotes relatively high residential density. It implies less spending on infrastructure, less travel time and is based on efficient public transport.
The blueprint for the development of Ahmedabad looks at relaxing height restriction for builders, a move that is expected to benefit home buyers by reducing the cost of housing units.
“The population of Ahmedabad is expected to rise to 80 lakh by 2021 from 59 lakh today. We did not want to spread the city and face commuting and infrastructure problems faced by big cities such as Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. Hence, we decided to build a compact city by rationalizing the existing land use,” said D. Thara, chief executive of urban authority, the nodal agency responsible for planning and executing the city’s growth, along with the city’s civic body.
“By increasing the supply (of houses), the overall affordability will be better. We want supply to exceed demand.”
A new zone has been identified for building affordable houses. This zone has a potential to build 1.5 million affordable houses in a decade, according to the development plan. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had promised 5 million affordable homes ahead of the state elections in December 2012.
“The new plan will allow the city to grow vertically and benefit both the buyer and the builder. Developers in the city were not able to come up with a housing scheme at a price that buyers were asking for due to the land prices that have shot up in the last few years. The new plan, if implemented, will surely contain the rising real estate prices and allow developers to build more low-cost houses,” said Neeraj Tomar, head of Ahmedabad operations, Jones Lang Lasalle, a real estate consulting firm.
According to an internal survey carried out by urban authority, about 48% of the city’s population falls in the lower middle income category with a monthly income of less than Rs.25,000-28,000.
Ahmedabad city is spread over an area of 466 sq. km.
“An area of 76 sq. km has been identified as an affordable housing zone. If anyone wants additional FSI (floor space index) of over 1.8, the developer will have to pay about 20% of the existing Jantri rates (a ready reckoner for paying stamp duty) if he goes for affordable housing. For others, it is 40%,” Thara said. FSI is the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the land upon which it is built. The existing highest free FSI is 1.8.